Charlie Schmidt

Charlie Schmidt is an award-winning freelance science writer based in Portland, Maine. In addition to writing for Harvard Health Publishing, Charlie has written for Science magazine, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Environmental Health Perspectives, Nature Biotechnology, and The Washington Post.


Posts by Charlie Schmidt

Investigators unveil metastatic prostate cancer’s genomic landscape

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Localized prostate cancer that is diagnosed before it has a chance to spread typically responds well to surgery or radiation. But when a tumor metastasizes and sends malignant cells elsewhere in the body, the prognosis worsens. Better treatments for men with metastatic prostate cancer are urgently needed. In 2018, scientists advanced toward that goal by […]

A new option for immunotherapy in metastatic prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Dividing cells face daunting challenges when replicating the billions of letters of DNA in their genomes. For instance, DNA letters in new cells can get mixed up, and then the affected genes don’t function correctly. To fix that problem, healthy cells can deploy so-called mismatch repair (MMR) genes that put scrambled DNA letters back in […]

Q&A with Dr. Daniel Rukstalis on prostatic urethral lift for enlarged prostates

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A new procedure that relieves symptoms without causing sexual side effects As men get older, their prostates often get bigger and block the flow of urine out of the bladder. This condition, which is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, causes bothersome symptoms. Since men can’t fully empty their bladders, they experience sudden and frequent urges to […]

New blood test may someday help guide the best treatment for aggressive prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Research in a small group of men with advanced prostate cancer found that a blood test that screens for a certain genetic mutation could help decide which of two types of drugs would be more likely to provide a longer lifespan.

New blood test guides researchers toward the best treatment for aggressive prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Tumors that spread, or metastasize, in the body shed cells into blood that doctors can scrutinize for insights into what a patient’s cancer might do. Analyzing these so-called circulating tumor cells (CTCs) isn’t part of routine care yet, in part because they’re so hard to pick out of the millions of normal cells in a […]

Influential task force issues new recommendations on prostate cancer screening

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Back in 2012, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) took aim at the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening test for prostate cancer with a blanket recommendation against it for all men. This was a big deal. The Task Force is widely seen as the top expert panel on cancer screening in the United States, and […]

Diagnostic MRIs allow some men flagged by PSA screening to avoid a biospy, new study shows

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A specialized type of diagnostic MRI scan can reduce the number of invasive prostate biopsies by nearly a third, according to results from a newly published international study. An MRI machine uses a very large magnet, a radio-wave transmitter, and a computer to construct detailed pictures of structures inside the body. The new study relied […]

New study once again casts doubt on PSA screening

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

The largest study to date of prostate cancer screening reinforces the existing evidence that the potential benefits of the test are outweighed by the harms of overtreatment for low-grade cancer that could be left untreated.

A mix of treatments may extend life for men with aggressive prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Combining multiple forms of radiation therapy with hormone treatments lengthens survival in men with aggressive prostate cancer.

New study once again casts doubt on PSA screening

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

To screen or not to screen for prostate cancer? This remains an important question. Screening relies on a highly imperfect measure, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which is prone to false-positive results. And with mounting evidence that survival benefits from screening pale in comparison with the harms from overtreatment — particularly incontinence and impotence […]